Water Slide

We enter by a dark
And elevated chamber;
People do this, apparently,
For their own entertainment.
Yet atop those chlorinated
Steps where re-used water
Pours back down rusting
Spiral stairs beyond where
Semi-naked people stare
Up towards me
Or at least the
Or vicinity of me
Expectantly and patient,
I have nothing to give.
Instead, I observed
On this heady pilgrimage
A phlegmy edge of
Chewing gum,
Masticated and
Impressed behind this
Aluminium balustrade
I cannot touch.
An English teacher
Some thirty years ago
(Although I recall
This moment as if
Furloughed by Time and
Just further below
A moment ago), expounded
On how gum survives
Within large intestinal
Tracts for three years
Or more, which he imparted
As a matter of fact,
And though that Mr E.
Is now deceased and outlived
By you and I and all
Those innocent eyes
On those rows below me,
All I know is how
He used to pull me by
My ear until my ear
Then reddened, and there
And then, my soul was
Deadened. He also said
Or instead proclaimed
That should you drink
From water fountains
Within the central city,
That very same fluid had
Reduced and sluiced through
Eight other bodies already.
From where I am standing,
Inner tremblings
There is little difference.
So in this hellish place
I find amalgamations
Of my two severest fears:
Water, and the populous
Within this easy confluence.

For a vast majority
Upon this downward
Uncontrolled trajectory
Where I am shouting
With all my internalised
High cacophonies
They are having fun
And bless them yes
They are laughing.
Buffeted from side to side,
Elbows bruised,
Points confused,
My soul paramedics
On standby, they know well
I create and decorate
My private forms of
Self-inflicted torture.

Far north from here,
The heavy skies of Scotland
Brew a murder or two,
Or at sixes and sevens,
Whilst I am thrust from
The open mouth
Of a rusty and very
Asthmatic serpent
Into this new heaven.


A simoom from Sahara
Descended on our Eastern land,
From Sheppey up to Scarborough
Down-poured a maddening sand.

It got into their eyeballs
And entered through their ears,
It muted campus halls
And inveigled tutors’ fears.

It festered in the mindset,
More flour bought, less eggs appear;
Cancelled cruises and the vet,
No Trinidad this year.

Some went mad, the last I heard,
Beat their drums, took photographs;
Preferred a bulldog-bitten word,
They circled 5G telegraphs.

With slurring speech said phones had started
The spreading of infection,
So they burnt the network poles glad-hearted;
There’s no more dialect inflection.

They danced around those maypoles,
With revelry, with glee well-fed,
But could not return maternal calls;
Their telephones were dead.

Torsion Spring

Suddenly, my skin turned to glass,
From my feet to my legs
Without explanation
And then all the upper parts.
A passerby stopped in shock,
Others congregating gasped,
To see the turning organs
With their countless clockwork arts;
Middle mainspring moving
Shaped like metal hearts,
Stomach digesting porridge oats,
Piezoelectrical charge.
The carnival crowds were swelling,
Hawkers had my image selling,
(Clearly without my permission),
Using smartphone printed photographs.
From capillaries to aorta,
The bloods which made my daughter,
I felt alone as lone can be;
They peered into my structures,
Decorations for a mantelshelf,
A touring curiosity
Though some denounced monstrosities
Seen in their heathen oscillating piece.
They wound me up when I would cease,
Encased within a brassy hood,
Refused to share with me the key,
But kept me polished and often greased.
When the master horologist descended
He had the crowds disband,
Then put me before an awful mirror
To see how self-sabotaging wreaked,
In my visage a glass-encrusted hand.
I spotted a hernia frozen,
I caught an ancient haemorrhage,
Though I thought where the nerves had broken
Could be better with a beverage.
I tried to speak, but my silica lips
Were motionless and cold;
My host said nothing could enter
With nothing to leak but chimes of old
And the stuff of Time itself.
The townsfolk crafted a pedestal
Where I stood for five hundred years,
Until the earthquake of ’65
When the whole world disappeared.